End of Year Wrap-Up
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
2020 will certainly be long remembered as a year of uneasiness and isolation. There seemed to be a sense of tragedy on the news each night as we observed the world suffer and nervously watched the COVID-19 pandemic creep across to Australian shores. This followed the shattering bushfires which devastated many Australians.
School provided hope and a positive point of focus for students and staff, albeit under very different circumstances. While it was not only the safety net found within the traditional school gates that provided stability in the lives of many students, it was also in the connections formed through the online platforms provided by the College. Students in Aungier displayed an incredible level of resilience in progressing through times of lockdown.
Aungier students also acted as a source of relief for their friends, being really supportive of one another. I particularly applaud those students who connected with staff and professionals when they detected a friend may have been doing it tough.
I would like to thank those Aungier Mentors for being the rocks that so many students were able to lean on throughout the year. Special mention to Ms Elizabeth Watson, Ms Gabrielle Smith, Ms Nohara Binyamin, Ms Marie-Anne Maakrun, Ms Nicola Silsby, Ms Charlotte Stephens, Ms Shannon Kelly, Ms Prue Fitzsimmons, Mr Anthony Stanton, Mr Stephen Wilmot, Mr Garth Aird, Mr James Spargo, Mr Martin Barrett, Mr Robert Tall and Mr Matthew Mountfort.
Furthermore, the Aungier Student Leaders did a terrific job in actively guiding younger students. James Waterhouse (College Vice-Captain), Zac Wotherspoon (House Captain), Sam Markert, Emile Stephenson and Ryan von der Heyden (House Prefects) were wonderful role models for our junior men to look up to. We also welcomed the newly appointed Student Leaders who will guide Aungier into 2021. Peter Stamatelatos (College Captain), Saia Afeaki (House Captain), Jack Fingleton, Charles Jaeger and Harrison Palmer (House Prefects) have already made a strong impact during events like the Year 7 (2021) Orientation Day and Year 10 Service Week.
2020 kicked off with Year 7 Camp. This was an important event for our new students to gather together and form new friendships. This year students travelled to the YMCA camp at Yarramundi. Students participated in various activities including abseiling, bushwalking, and a high ropes course.
Aungier was the only House to hold a House Mass in 2020. This proved to be a success as a number of Aungier families were able to attend to celebrate Mass and enjoy a supper following. Father Bernie led us in prayer with the 2020 theme of “Small Action, Big Impact”, which was developed by the Senior Leaders, being the central focus.
Refugee Week was well supported by Aungier in 2020. The theme for this year was celebrating the Year of Welcome. With this theme in mind, Aungier wanted to make Waverley College an inviting campus, acknowledging and welcoming refugees from around the world. Students were involved in a flag painting activity to highlight the nations where refugees have come from to settle in Australia. Aungier students prepared a large welcome sign surrounded by the various flags in the Centenary Quadrangle.
The variety of competitions and activities were well received by the student body in 2020, albeit under different circumstances with COVID-19 restrictions. The Senior School Swimming Carnival took place at Des Renford Pool in Term 1. Aungier was also involved in several House Competitions which engaged a diverse range of students. The Junior School representatives did their House proud at both the Blitz Day and the Walkathon, led by Captain Jasper Thomas and Vice-Captain Angus Peshos.
The restrictions sadly impacted the Year 12 Graduation Ceremony. Fortunately, the College was able to organise a wonderful farewell to our departing students at the conclusion of the High School Certificate. Students were invited to the Year 12 Formal at the Australian Turf Club at Royal Randwick. Following this, students and their families attended a special Graduation Ceremony at the Sydney Cricket Ground. This was a special event and tribute to the departing Class of 2020.
The traditional end of year camp was replaced with alternative programs for Year 10 students. The newly created Service Week was wonderfully engaging as students in Aungier spent the week serving the community. Some of the activities they took part in included helping to prepare meals for the disadvantaged at Our Big Kitchen, supporting the Holdsworth Community and preparing Christmas hampers at the Exodus Foundation for homeless people across Sydney. The week concluded with a Reflection Day, led by Year 12 representatives, where students were able to reflect on these life-changing experiences that they took part in.
The year concluded with the College Presentation Assembly, recognising those students who had achieved outstanding academic results in 2020. Congratulations to the following students from Aungier House: Year 5 – Jacob Sheehan, James Tucker; Year 7 – Charles Coughlan, Callum Macarthur; Year 8 – Mitchel Ho, Ricardo Zanapalis; Year 9 – Jack Crotty, Bert Cottell; Year 10 – Luke Stewart, James Jones and Guy Hammerschmidt; Year 11 – Harrison Palmer, Saia Afeaki and Hugo Stephenson.
As the saying goes, “We don’t grow when things are easy. We grow when we face challenges.” I have no doubt that the events of 2020 will help to mould the men of Aungier House into stronger individuals. I look forward to stepping into a peaceful 2021 which will hopefully deliver access to all the opportunities which we once enjoyed and are so hungry to participate in again.
I would like to wish all students and families the very best as we move into a new year. Take care, God Bless and Happy Days!